Environment 101

What is Canada’s strategy as part of the global goal to stabilize climate change? On December 9, 2016, the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change was approved by the federal government, a plan to impact all sectors of Canada’s economy, as well as to stimulate clean economic growth, and build resilience to the impacts of climate change. Canada’s target is to reduce carbon
dioxide equivalent (CO2e) greenhouse gas emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. Ontario’s target is 37% below 1990 levels by 2030 which Ontario cities have adopted, thus, it is London’s target too.

Although Canada contributed less than 2% of global CO2e emissions in 2010, we are committed to reach an emissions reduction to 523 Megatonnes (Mt) by 2030, being a producer and user of fossil fuels. In 2014, Canada’s national inventory reported 732 Mt of emissions excluding forestry emissions 72 Mt. Energy use was our highest generator of emissions (81%) or 594 Mt, followed by agriculture (8%),
industry (7%), and waste (4%). In 2014, emissions were 120 Mt (20%) higher than 1990’s 613 Mt.

What are the barriers? In April 2016, Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Officer, stated the leading barriers in reducing emissions are (1) our strong dependency on fossil fuels and (2) management of our forests. Our 2030 target means removing more than the equivalent of all emissions from today’s cars and trucks and a price for decreasing CO2e of $100 per tonne. Policy underway includes reducing emissions from coal use, improving vehicle fuel-efficiency, and studying the contribution of managed forests in removing atmospheric emissions. Some say tar sands production, the pipelines that carry that oil, and resulting emissions are the main barrier to meeting our international obligations on climate change.

In 2016, the federal government tabled a national price on carbon, expected to start with a $10 per tonne fee in 2018, with increases to $50 a tonne by 2022. Provinces and territories could develop their own programs by September 2017 to have reviewed. If not, Ottawa would top up or put into force their own plan held to a federal standard. On January 15, 2018, with four provincial strategies underway
(British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec), Ottawa did just that with a draft policy, the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, and the regulatory framework to implement it expected to be introduced into Parliament this spring and passed in the fall with full compliance January 1, 2019.

One of the most effective national policies with the greatest impact on emissions in Canada is Bill C-30: Canada’s Clean Air and Climate Change Act. Since 2006, it has supported: initiatives to reduce emissions and improve air quality; bring innovation to clean energy and transportation (large emission sources), improve indoor air quality, and build adaptation and international engagement strategies. Clean, nonemitting electricity systems are the cornerstone of our future through renewables and low-emitting sources. The biggest challenge is to make it easy for Canadians to leave their car at home.

Check out the resources below for the full handout!

Environment 101 Resources

To view Environment 101, click here (English)

To view the Spanish version, click here (Espanol)

To view the French version, click here (Francais)

To view the Arabic version, click here